Content » Vol 48, Issue 6

Original report

Implementation of a technology-assisted programme to intensify upper limb rehabilitation in neurologically impaired participants: A prospective study

Mary P. Galea, Fary Khan, Bhasker Amatya, Alaeldin Elmalik, Marlena Klaic, Geoff Abbott
Department of Medicine , (Royal Melbourne Hospital), The University of Melbourne, 34–54 Poplar Road, Parkville, Melbourne VIC 3052, Australia. E-mail: m.galea@unimelb.edu.au, mary.galea@mh.org.au
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2087

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the implementation of a technology-assisted programme to intensify upper limb rehabilitation after stroke and other neurological conditions in an Australian community cohort.
Methods: A “Hand Hub” was established in a tertiary hospital. Intervention was delivered via individual or group sessions for a period of up to 6 weeks, in addition to the patients’ regular therapy. Patients were assessed before and after the programme using validated measures.
Results: A total of 92 participants completed both assessments (mean age 57 years (standard deviation 17 years), 58% male and 88% with stroke). Post-intervention, participants showed significant improvement in arm function and strength (p < 0.001, effect sizes (r) = 0.5–0.7), streamlined Wolf Motor Function Test score (p < 0.05, r = 0.2–0.4), improved muscle tone on the Modified Ashworth Scale (p < 0.001, r = 0.4), Functional Independence Measure (locomotion, mobility and psychosocial subscales (p < 0.05, r = 0.2–0.3). Quality of life (EQ-5D) and overall health also improved significantly (p < 0.01 for all, r = 0.3–0.6).
Conclusion: The “Hand Hub” programme is feasible and showed promising results for upper limb function in persons with neurological disorders. The findings need to be further confirmed in a larger study sample, with a longer follow-up.

Lay Abstract

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